The nominations for MTV’s Video Music Awards were released this week, and amongst the usual shower of nondescript commercial bilge, there was the reminder that some artists are actually using their videos as a medium for something more than rump-shaking and product placement: the curious, three-year-old “Best Video with a Social Message” category, for which nominees include noted political commentators Beyoncé, Macklemore, and Kelly Clarkson. Although we can’t guarantee that any of this year’s crop will make any great impact on you, here are some excellent music videos — past and present — that just might.
TLC — “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg”
Remember this video? Apart from the fact that it accompanied TLC’s first single and features the trio looking terrifyingly young, it’s chiefly notable for Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes pioneering the idea of condom-as-fashion-item. “It’s our fashion statement,” she explained at the time. “When kids see the condoms, they ask why do we wear condoms and talk about condoms? That brings up the issue of safe sex. The point is to make condoms something kids aren’t afraid of or ashamed of.”